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Keith Olbermann's Johnny Carson Moment

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Keith Olberman

Full disclosure: this writer rarely goes a Monday thru Friday evening without watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann. If I skip a broadcast, it is most likely because of another of Keith's absences, a likely contributor to a reported Countdown ratings drop; mostly due, in my opinion, to too much subbing last December and into early January by that too Democratic Establishment type guy Lawrence O'Donnell. I trust Keith, Larry not so much.

In fact, I have felt such a debt of loyalty demanding gratitude toward Olbermann ever since the 2006 stuck-in-the-airport Countdown host's epiphany, where he fumed while reading a report of Donald Rumsfeld comparing war critics to Nazi appeasers. Olbermann pondered, then, why somebody in news with a platform didn't take the Bush Defense Secretary to task for spouting such trash, even as it dawned on Keith he had such a soapbox unutilized. That night, Olbermann debuted his now patented "Special Comments" with a six-and-a-half-minute scathing rebuke of Rumsfeld: "The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet."

Had there been no Keith Olbermann, no Countdown, no "Special Comments", I am convinced there would have been no turning away of the radical neocon agenda, no slowing down of the fall of the United States into fascism, no effective counter of MSNBC to the FOXNEWS propaganda machine, no Maddow, no Franken and, certainly, no President Obama.

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Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.

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